09/06/2013 13:24, Report by Adam Marshall
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32 yrs ago: Atkinson in

ManUtd.com recalls Ron Atkinson's stint as Manchester United manager, which began on this day (9 June) in 1981...

Ron Atkinson arrived at Old Trafford to great fanfare with a reputation for playing entertaining, attacking football.

The flamboyant character had famously steered underdogs West Bromwich Albion to a thrilling 5-3 win at Old Trafford three years earlier and earned the right to manage a big club after learning his trade initially with Kettering Town and Cambridge United.

Certainly a very different personality to his predecessor, Dave Sexton, he injected some flair into the United team and smashed the British transfer record to bring Bryan Robson over from The Hawthorns during his first campaign in charge.

Insisting the £1.5million outlay was not even a risk, Atkinson arranged for Robson to sign his contract on the pitch before a game with Wolves. There was little doubt that, despite a lack of silverware since 1977, United remained a glamorous club and one of the biggest in Europe during the start of his tenure.

Trophies were required to satisfy the appetite of the fans, however, and the 1983 FA Cup was secured following a replay against Brighton & Hove Albion. Gary Bailey's late save denied Gordon Smith the winner in the first game at Wembley as the final finished 2-2 before Robson inspired a one-sided 4-0 romp in the replay.

Two years later, Norman Whiteside curled past Neville Southall to defeat Everton's all-conquering side with 10 men after Kevin Moran's sending off to earn another success to savour in the showpiece event.

Although regular contenders for the elusive Division One title, the drought finally appeared sure to end in 1985/1986. By

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